The Listeners by Walter de la Mare

I believe that walking in the Spirit is preparatory to coming to Christ.

You must at least believe there is a spiritual realm that has pre-
eminence over the physical one in order to even embark on the long rugged road that leads to the Lord’s waiting arms.

Below is a poem that stirred up my spirit during my lifetime, before I came to Christ. I’ve included it here, with a brief note on how it relates to the Gospel of Christ, as others may find this interesting or helpful. If you’d like to message me with your own notes on what helped lead you to the Lord Jesus Christ during your lifetime, please feel free to do so.

THE LISTENERS by Walter de la Mare

“Is there anybody there?” said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grass
Of the forest’s ferny floor;
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller’s head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
“Is there anybody there?” he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller’s call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
‘Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:–
“Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,” he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.

My notes:
The above stirs my spirit mostly because of the poignancy and loneliness of the Traveller, who alone is living and faithful in the country he journeys to. No-one responds to his call yet he remains true, delivering his message as promised, though only the dead hear him.

The above can be seen in Christ too, who is ever called Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11). Christ also tells us that he is always waiting for us (the spiritually dead here on earth) to answer his call to redemption: “behold, I stand at the door and knock…” (Rev. 3:20).

Christ was also known as the “man of sorrows” as most people on earth rejected his message of hope…so in truth both he and his disciples could identify with the lonely Traveller in Walter de la Mare’s poem:

Isaiah 53:3
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

At any rate, I think the poem is a beautiful call to true faith, to keeping one’s word, even when all seems lost, and it speaks to my heart.

So I’ve included it here for you to read too.

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